Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry provides a world-class education through its classroom teaching, and creates new scientific knowledge through cutting-edge research aimed at solving some of society’s most important human health, energy, and environmental problems.

Tradition of excellence

The Department of Chemistry has been a national and international leader since its inception. Prominent alumni and former faculty include the inventors of synthetic rubber and Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, the pioneer of Kodak photo processes, and two Nobel Prize winners. Fifty-nine chemistry alumni have received the Outstanding Achievement Award. Current faculty members include 12 Distinguished McKnight University Professors, three Regents Professors, and two are members of the National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Nine faculty members serve as editors for top chemistry journals, playing a key role in the worldwide dissemination of scientific knowledge.

World-class academics

Students receive broad training in chemistry’s major subfields, apply modern techniques, and acquire a thorough understanding of tools and theories. Learning from world-renowned faculty, students have access to state-of-the-art equipment. Students gain knowledge and skills for challenging careers in medicine, energy, forensics, food science, materials science, pharmaceuticals, and polymer science. Alumni work in industry, education, or government. In addition to teaching future chemists, chemistry courses are required for a variety of majors at the university.

Cutting-edge research

Faculty have conducted breakthrough research in protecting natural resources, developing renewable products and new sources of energy, and discovering medical cures. Faculty and student researchers are on the leading edge of many subfields of chemistry research including theoretical, organic, inorganic, physical, biological, analytical, and environmental chemistry. A number of multi-disciplinary and collaborative research centers are housed in the department. In addition, researchers are conducting medical, pharmaceutical, and materials research in collaboration with the University’s medical school and top-ranked science and engineering programs.

Business and industry connections

The department has connections to major corporations including 3M, Ecolab, General Mills, DuPont, and Dow Chemical Company. Our researchers receive funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and departments of Energy and Defense.

National rankings

  • The graduate program ranked in the top 25 in the most recent National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report rankings.